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Pushing the boat out


I would like to clarify some points made by Stuart Fisher about the Jubilee River and its use by small boats (NCE 25 July).

The Environment Agency has a duty, where practical and safe, to promote its assets, and the water environment in general, for recreation. We have been working hard to create access to the channel for visitors on foot. Visitors on the water are taking more time to accommodate as the operational structures need to be modified and managed to ensure they are safe. Also, some landowners are concerned about boating from their land.

The navigation closure notice on the Jubilee River ended on 31 July, after a period of time to allow the banks, flora and fauna, to stabilise. As it is a distributary of the Thames, the Thames Conservancy Act applies.

We want to manage this channel in the most sustainable way, while encouraging its diverse use for recreation. A management plan to do just this is in preparation and will be complete by the end of the year.

The Jubilee River has been recognised as a major achievement in combining flood alleviation with recreation and conservation on a scale not seen in this country before. Inevitably, different people would like to see the balance differently distributed.

Chris Birks, director, Thames Region, Environment Agency, Kings Meadow House, Kings Meadow Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8DL

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